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Re: Update to reimbursement procedure (now: max 3 months after expense)

On 06/10/14 at 23:13 +0100, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 06, 2014 at 11:26:25PM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >On 06/10/14 at 20:38 +0100, Steve McIntyre wrote:
> >> On Mon, Oct 06, 2014 at 12:38:31PM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >> >On 06/10/14 at 12:07 +0200, Tollef Fog Heen wrote:
> >> >> 
> >> >> Both 2008 and 2011 are more than a year ago, so I don't see any
> >> >> justification for making this change and would like to see it reverted.
> >> >
> >> >There were other occurences of reimbursement requests coming very late
> >> >recently. It seems that some people wait until the deadline to do
> >> >such tasks.
> >> >
> >> >Also, I don't think that 3 months is unreasonable. My employer applies a
> >> >two-week soft deadline, and a one month hard deadline for travel
> >> >reimbursements.
> >> 
> >> So that's a stupidly tight setup on their part, so what...? What
> >> actual *problem* are you trying to solve in Debian by arbitrarily
> >> reducing the limit for us?
> >
> >Given that we have no clear process to track reimbursement requests over
> >time, late reimbursement requests often involve digging through email
> >archives to understand their status.
> OK... How many such requests do we have to deal with? In those
> situations, it may take a little time. Complain to the people doing it
> when they're *too* late. But an arbitrary short cut-off is not
> helpful.
> >I agree that improving the processes (using e.g. RT) would be better,
> >but this hasn't happened yet. If you want to join the auditor@ team to
> >make that happen, you're welcome. But I am already spending far more
> >time than I would like on financial stuff.
> It's your call on how much time and effort you want to spend, of
> course. I don't remember having to spend much time at all on
> reimbursements as DPL, but you may have many more requests; I'll admit
> I don't know the numbers.

I don't keep numbers about such requests, but I think that there are
several factors:
- the number of sprints increased a lot since 2010, resulting in more
  sprint-related reimbursement processes.
- our infrastructure grew quite a lot, and DSA is more professional
  and organized, resulting in more expenses.
- the process seem to have changed quite a bit. Apparently, you were
  only approving the initial overall budget for sprints, but the per-person
  reimbursement requests were handled directly by the TO, with the DPL
  out of the loop (which also makes it hard to understand the status of
  old sprints when a reimbursement request comes up after 6 years).
- people seem to have higher expectation regarding reimbursement delays,
  and tend to complain to me.

All those changes are probably good, but the auditor/DPL side of things
did not really scale up accordingly, and my attempts to improve that
side by recruiting more volunteers have failed so far. (but hey, I got
two volunteers during this discussion)

> >Also, I really don't see why you feel that it's necessary to have the
> >possibility to wait for a year before submitting a reimbursement
> >request.
> See Phil's response, for one. Personally, for small-ish things I often
> end up leaving them for a while until they bunch up enough to care
> about the money. Why is 3 months suddenly too long for that? You're
> changing something that doesn't need changing, AFAICS - that's why I'm
> asking you to justify why the change is necessary.

So, I've updated https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DPL/Reimbursement to add
the following:
   If it is much more convenient to you to submit your reimbursement
   request later than that, you can submit it no more than a year after
   the corresponding event, but you must inform leader@debian.org and
   auditor@debian.org of that delayed submission during the three-month
   period, with a rough estimate of the expense (+/- 10%).

I think that this compromise addresses concerns on both sides:
- we get a clear status about pending reimbursement requests (and their
  amount) after 3 months
- we have the possibility to submit reimbursement requests later if

Providing a rough estimate should not be a problem, given it is already
required to get pre-approval.

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